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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Performing Arts Talk 
Thread started 23 Apr 2014 (Wednesday) 06:29
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Tips for shooting first live conert

 
jonneymendoza
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Apr 23, 2014 06:29 |  #1

Hi i got the opportunity to photo a live gig tomorrow and was wondering what kind of tips you have in terms of some composition ideas and gear/settings i should use.

i have a 5d3 camera with the following lenses

canon 16-35 f2.8
canon 24-70 f2.8 mk2
canon 70-200 f2.8 mk2
sigma ART 35mm f1.4

Flash:
Canon 600RT
Canon 430ex2

I am thinking i should bring the 16-35 and 70-200 which will cover me for wide angle shots and shots from a distance.

Should i bother with a flash?

I want to shoot both the artist and the fans to give a nice overal idea of the atmosphere to the viewer looking at the images.

Thoughts?

Thanks in advance


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nathancarter
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Apr 23, 2014 10:37 |  #2

Depends. Some considerations:

Hopefully there will be stage lighting. You shouldn't need a flash. If it's a low-budget kind of thing, the stage lights might be crap - but an on-camera hotshoe flash will detract from the overall "feel" of the show unless it's used very, very judiciously. Mort importantly, the flash will detract from the performance for the other audience members. It's EXTREMELY rare that I use flash at any sort of show where there are other audience members.

Watch your shutter speed; don't let it go too slow or you'll get objectionable motion blur. 1/100 is just about the absolute minimum I would use for a performance; if they're energetic then you may need to go higher - 1/160, 1/200, maybe even 1/400 if they're jumping all around.

The 5D3 should focus pretty reliably, so you can get away with a relatively wide aperture. I usually use my 70-200 f/4L wide open, and it's VERY rare for me to lose a shot due to missed focus. Sometimes I use one-shot, sometimes I use AI servo - depends on the performance and my mood. Depends on how confident you are with your gear and your lenses.

Don't be afraid to crank up the ISO in order to get a proper exposure. The 5D3 can handle it, especially with some basic use of noise reduction in post. Here's an example of what can be done with the 5D3 at ISO 12800:
https://photography-on-the.net …/showthread.php​?t=1360713

Careful with your metering modes if you're using any of the automatic modes. If it's a spotlight-illuminated singer against a black background, many of the metering modes will let the singer blow out in order to average out the overall exposure. Even at moderate ISO, blown-out skin is hard to recover. At high ISO, blown-out skin is impossible to recover. Let the background fade to clipped black if you must, but DON'T let the skin blow out. Don't be afraid to turn on the blinkies and chimp, to make sure you're not clipping anything important.

As far as what lens to use? Depends on your style, your location, and the nature of the show. If you have free run of the place and can get up close to the stage, you have more flexibility in lens/FL choice. My style doesn't lend itself well to up-close shots with a wide-angle, though some people can pull it off with great results. I prefer to stand back a little bit and use the 70-200 to get closeups of faces and expressions. Mix in a few shots with a wide-angle to take in the whole venue, but don't stick to the wide-angle the whole time.

Caveat: If lighting is at a premium, you might have to put on the 35mm f/1.4, open it all the way up, and just do the best you can with what you got. A few weeks I shot a show in a little bar, where the only front lighting was from a jukebox on the other side of the room, and some back lighting from a couple track lights at the rear of the stage. I was at 1/125, f/1.4, and ISO25600 for most of the show.


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jonneymendoza
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Apr 23, 2014 11:43 |  #3

wow cool thanks for the advice. spot metetering the way to go?


Canon 5dmkIII | Canon 85L 1.2 | Sigma 35mm ART 1.4|Canon 16-35mm L 2.8 |Canon 24-70mm L f2.8 | Canon 70-200mm F2.8L MK2 | Canon 430EX MK2 Flickr (external link)

  
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nathancarter
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Apr 23, 2014 12:58 |  #4

Depends on if the situation. If the stage is approximately evenly lit across its width, and lights are not changing, then find the right exposure and lock it in with M. If the stage lights are dynamically changing, or if the stage is not evenly lit and the performers are all over the place, then you may need to spot-meter.

The down side of spot metering is that you have to keep the meter spot on top of your subject, which doesn't allow for flexible composition. To be honest, I don't know enough about metering modes to remember exactly how the 5D3 does spot metering. I think it's based on the selected focus point, but don't know how/if that changes if you use different styles of focus point selection.

Automatic metering modes will also be screwed up if you have any sort of backlights or rim lights. Sometimes it's good to let those blow out, in order to get the right exposure on the performer.

With a little practice, you can use M and just tweak the exposure on the fly as needed. I've occasionally done this in difficult venues where the light is not even and the performer is moving all around. It's tough, and the keeper rate is relatively low.


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Echo63
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May 03, 2014 11:06 |  #5

I typically take my 16-35 and 70-200 for gigs, if i know I'm shooting from the sound desk, i take a 400 and 1.4 converter too

for nicely lit stuff, i typically shoot manual (nicely lit, meaning it doesn't change much)

for bands with lots of lighting effects, i use spot metering slaved to the AF point, and just keep the select AF point on the appropriate face and use EC to adjust exposure to fit the face


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Tips for shooting first live conert
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